Swedish Heat Pump

From Omni Continuum, issue unknown

The thrifty Swedes, long famed for their ability to produce cheap power, have come up with yet another way to bite the energy bullet. This time they have put together what amounts to the world's largest heat pump, using as a primary energy source nothing less than the cold, cold waters of the Baltic Sea.

The system, explains Jan Sgodein of the Swedish Energy Board in Stockholm, is elegantly simple. Water from the Baltic Sea is first pumped over a series of pipes containing liquid Freon.

Even at its coldest (roughly 2 degree C) the water is much warmer than the freon, so as its heat passes through pipes it warms the freon eventually evaporating the liquid and turning it to gas.

That gas is then further heated by compression until it warms the pipes that contain it to 85 degrees C. Those pipes in turn pass their warmth along to heat the water that heats the flats of Stockholm.

The power produced by the heat pump, Sgodein says, costs only about half as much as power produced by fuel oil. Placed online in January, the system is already providing heat for 300,000 homes and offices in the Stockholm area.

'Theoretically,' Sgodein says, 'this heat pump could be a model for the Third World, especially for tropical countries where the water is much warmer than it is here.' - Bill Lawren

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